About ten years ago, I started putting on shows at Christmas that mixed up science demonstrations, stand up, musicians, character acts and some fireworks. For some people, this has become a tradition, a secular sleigh ride. When there was a much talked of presumed Mayan prophecy of the end of the world, Brian Cox and I decided to have an end of the world night, with the four horsemen being represented by a D:ream reunion at the end of the night.
Since then, we have regularly put on the Compendium of Reason, a night of mystery guests who have included The Cure, Chris Hadfield, Carolyn Porco, New Order, Alison Moyet, Dara O Briain, Charlotte Church and about 40 others over the last few years.
The profits have gone to a selection of charities we have chosen, I thought it might be of interest for the audience and interested parties to know where the money went to.
And I am sorry we have never brought the show out of London. Unfortunately, due to the size of it all, it is pretty restrictive to travel it about. Brian Cox will be touring the UK in the autumn though and I will tag along to ask him annoying questions.
This year we raised around £55,000 for charities.
The main beneficiaries are –
Medecins Sans Frontieres – hvaing met doctors and nurses who work for MSF, I have been enormously impressed and also horrified by what they have had to tell me about dealing with the casulaties of war http://www.msf.org.uk/our-work
Manchester University Scholarship Fund – this is to help fund someone aiming to do a science degree who is the first member of their family to go to university. There is a risk that universities may become the domain of those that come from a financially secure background, these sort of funds are there to try to avoid this.
We also donate money to the following charities.
SOPHIE Lancaster Foundation – I met Sophie’s mother, Sylvia, at a gig in Burnley some years ago. Many of you will know of the horrific story of how her daughter, Sophie, was brutally murdered. Sylvia and her friends now operate a charity that aims to educate people about intolerance, prejudice and why, just because you may look different, you are a human who deserves dignity. I would highly recommend listening to or watching Black Roses, the words of Sylvia and the poet Simon Armitage. http://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com/
Wamba Community Trust – a charity that promotes education, especially amongst girls who are not always seen as an edcuational priority there. http://www.wambacommunitytrust.co.uk/
The Jon Egging Trust – a charity inspired by Jon Egging, who died in a Red Arrows display, this charity is about promoting and encourgaing teamwork in young people. http://www.joneggingtrust.org.uk/about/ (Brian particularly likes this one as it increases the chances of him having a go in a jet aeroplane)
St Richard’s Hospice – in memory of the mother of our friend, Amy, who produces the show with us each year. http://www.strichards.org.uk/
Ian Rennie Hospice Care – My mother died a week before the 2015 Compendium. Ian Rennie Hospice Care gave us wonderful help during her last two days. http://www.renniegrove.org/
We are also giving a small contribution to the British Humanist Association. https://humanism.org.uk/
We weren’t going to do a Compendium this year, but after Brian drank champagne with New Order, he changed his mind, and that meant I changed mine. See some of you on 16th December.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of the shows, our brilliant crew, and all the excellent guests who have given up their time and even traveled from Canada for us. I am bound to forget names, but I wrote this up after these 2013 and 2014 events and they should contain most of the names.
I am not doing much live stuff for the time being, but will be popping up at clubs in Sheffield, Manchester, Newcastle, Leicester and a few other towns.I also perform new material at Old Rope in London most weeks. www.robinince.com